Chapter 11 - But what if you start late?

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But what if you start late?


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Dynamic Learning, also make many first-rate suggestions for teaching those who find spelling difficult. In particular, they recommend using "visual imagination" in tackling tough words: visualizing each word so that the difficult letter-combinations stand out, either by making them bigger, brighter or a different color (see hints, page 376).

Back writing for mirror writing problems
  For school-age children who continue to have problems distinguishing letters such as b and d, and p and q, British educators Peter Young and Colin Tyre, in their excellent book, Teach Your Child To Read, recommend "back writing". The principles are simple: place a large sheet of paper on a wall at your child's eye-level; with the child facing the poster, you use your index finger to "print" the letter b on his back, repeating something like, "B says buh; first down for the bat and round for the ball;" and get him to write the letter on the poster, using a thick felt pen and repeating your wording. Teach only one letter at a time.
  Young and Tyre say that "over very many years we have not known this to fail".
  Running fingers over the shape of Montessori sandpaper letters also helps children distinguish "similar but opposite" letters. Sets of stippled plastic letters are now available.

New Zealand breakthroughs
  Other breakthroughs are often blends or developments of techniques covered in our True Learning chapter.
  New Zealand's catch-up programs, for instance, have become so successful that groups of American and Swedish teachers now fly across the Pacific regularly to see how they work. New Zealand teachers are amazed to find that many American elementary schools still shuffle children around to several different teachers during a day: a reading teacher, for example, and a music teacher.
  American visitors "down under" are impressed by what they call whole-language teaching. But that term is too restrictive. Whole life may well be better. The whole structure is based around the principle that students come first.
  New Zealand has "a national curriculum" but that paints only in broad strokes the educational philosophy and teaching goals. Individual teachers


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